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Low-Spoiler Guide to Chemicus

Welcome to my Chemicus hints page. (-: If you're new to this series of low-spoiler computer game walkthroughs, the idea behind them is to point gamers towards things they might not have tried in each game rather than giving step-by-step instructions or divulging puzzle solutions. There's not much point in playing a puzzle game if you know the solutions in advance, after all.

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So these pages are as close to spoiler-free as possible while still providing some valuable Chemicus hints and tips. If you are looking for the solution to a particular puzzle, I recommend the UHS site--due to the way their pages are set up you can only see one hint at a time, so you can get the answer to one pesky puzzle without ruining all the others for yourself. Here's the UHS page for Chemicus if you're interested in that. My site, meanwhile, focuses on exactly the things UHS and other traditional walkthroughs don't: the non-critical parts of the game, extra details you might miss, and, most pertinantly for Chemicus in particular, extra annoyances that can be eliminated to get the maximum enjoyment out of the game. If you want even fewer spoilers--you're considering whether or not to buy the game, for example--please try my Chemicus Review page to find all the pertinant information in one convenient spoiler-free package.

Now, on with the game!

Chemicus Hints and Tips
The Non-Boring Chemicus Walkthrough
Chemicus Cheats and Links
The Backseat Game Designer: Chemicus Critique

Chemicus Hints and Tips

In terms of its game mechanics, Chemicus (spelled "Chemikus" in its original German release) is an entirely standard Myst clone. If you've ever played Myst or any of its sequels, or if you've ever played any first-person puzzle adventure game in the past ten years, you'll already be completely familiar with this interface and could probably play it in your sleep. If you haven't, though, and you just happened to buy this game because of its educational merits or your own love of science, then you may need a few gameplay hints to help you get started. And even if you're a Myst virtuoso, Chemicus does have a few quirks all its own that it would have been nice to know about beforehand. So here, without any spoilers, are my suggestions for getting the most out of Chemicus:

Movement: The movement controls in Chemicus are very inconsistent and often unintuitive--sometimes it is hard to see an exit to your left, right, or beneath you, because the cursor does not shift to show that you can go that way unless it is resting in the precisely correct location (which is not always to the far margin of the screen where you'd expect it, but sometimes closer to the center.) Worse, it isn't always possible to exit a screen in a direction you should be able to. Particularly near the end of the game, you will encounter areas where you can't step directly across an empty room towards an interesting object, but rather have to circumnavigate the room. If you like, I have written a walkthrough for Chemicus which, while still not spoiling any of the puzzles, informs you which is the proper location to explore next. This can cut back on some of the frustrated pixel-hunting for nonexistent exits you think you might not have noticed yet.

Inventory: Unlike many Mystlike games, Chemicus allows you to pick up items to carry with you and use in a different location. Naturally you should pick up anything and everything you find; there is no limit to how many objects you can carry with you (indeed, you will find yourself carrying around a good-sized tree for half the game.) Be warned that this can make your inventory very large, though, since most objects don't disappear from your inventory once they've served their purpose. Also, some chemicals that you find will never be used for anything at all. This does not mean that you have missed a puzzle or a clue, they're just red herrings to make it a little harder for you to solve some of the chemical equations.

Interface: Your only method of interacting with the gameworld is by clicking on it. Sometimes the game will alert you to the possibility of clicking on something by changing the cursor to a "hand" icon, but other times you'll just have to use trial and error.

Savegames: In most computer games it is very important to keep multiple savegames, so that you can revert to an earlier game if you've made a mistake or want to revisit an area you've left behind. In Chemicus this is actually not necessary. It is impossible to lose this game or make any errors that will have any result other than wasting a little of your time, and the only area that is not accessible throughout the entire game is the lab from the introduction, which contains nothing of interest anyway.

Time Management: Time does not pass in Chemicus, and you can take as long as you like exploring any part of it you choose.

Problem Spots: Chemicus is about as close to a problem-free game as it's possible to get. There are no dead ends, no corners you can inadvertantly paint yourself into, and no way to lose the game. I encountered no bugs at all. There is one puzzle with a very slight realtime element (an action you need to take before a door closes automatically,) but the time allotted is generous and you can try the puzzle as many times as you like without negative consequences. There is no captioning and at one point you are alerted to a potential problem by an error buzz, but neither of these is very important (the voiceovers are singularly pointless and so horribly acted that you may enjoy the game better without hearing them anyway.) The only potential sticking point I can imagine is that a few of the puzzles rely on math. If you can't do multiplication and division in your head, you'd be well-advised to keep a calculator handy.

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